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With Impatient Millennials, Website Delays Are Deadly

Even a two-second slowdown on a web or mobile site can cost retailers dearly among their millennial customers, a new study shows.

According to performance analytics firm Soasta, this particularly impatient demographic, defined by the company as ages 18 to 34, has little tolerance for slow online performance or site crashes.

“Millennials are the most coveted group of consumers out there,” noted chief marketing officer Ann Sung Ruckstuhl, but “have low tolerance for web and mobile sites that can’t keep up with them, and they can be very unforgiving of brands that let them down.”

Specifically, the company’s research revealed that more than one in four web and mobile sites (26 percent) visited by millennials report that users start leaving the site after two seconds of delay.

After three seconds, 28 percent of all websites see millennial users abandon the site. And from there, the rate of abandonment, or “bounce rate,” only continues to grow:

4-second delay = 30 percent bounce rate
5-second delay = 32 percent bounce rate
6-second delay = 35 percent bounce rate
7-second delay = 37 percent bounce rate
8-second delay = 39 percent bounce rate
9-second delay = 40 percent bounce rate
10-second delay = 41 percent bounce rate

“The cost of even just a one-second slowdown can be very high,” noted Ruckstuhl. “Fewer millennial users on a site mean fewer page views, fewer clicks, fewer items in the shopping cart, fewer sales, fewer returning customers, and less revenue for a digital business.”

Not surprisingly, millennials also have little tolerance for intrusive third-party resources like pop-up ads, news, videos and tracking software — so much so that 45 percent said they would rather go to the dentist, and 32 percent would rather hang out with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, than endure extraneous website features.

Nearly half (47 percent) of millennials blame those third-party resources for slow performance, obstructed screens and other Internet issues that contribute to site or app abandonment.

Soasta based its findings on analyses of 600 million user interactions that were gathered from almost a million unique user sessions from 10 leading U.S. retailers. The results are compiled in a report, Millennial Online Behavior Study. For more information, visit